California Fish and Game Commission meets in Atascadero, allowing GPS tracking on hunting dogs is on the agenda
–The California Fish and Game Commission is meeting in Atascadero Oct 11-12. One of the items on the agenda is discussing proposed changes to the California Mammal Hunting Regulations section 265 that governs the use of dogs for pursuing or taking of mammals. The change proposes to allow the use of GPS-equipped dog collars and treeing switches on hunting dogs, a move that is opposed by both animal protection organizations and Native American groups. A tree switch is a device that sends a signal when a dog raises its head to watch or sound a treed animal.
Hunters claim that GPS devices will make it easier to track and find their hunting dogs that are running loose in pursuit of game. Animal rights advocates claim the devices are inhumane both to the hunting dogs and to the animals being pursued.
Randal Massaro, President of Union Members for the Preservation of Wildlife, said that if the GPS collars are approved hunters will have “no incentive to keep up with their dogs in wildlife habitat and terrain when they can sit in vehicles and watch a screen indicating their dogs’ ranging one to seven miles, or more.” Massaro also said the devices violate Fish and Game codes that require dogs be kept under control.
Roger Dobson, President of the Northern California organization Protect the Wolves and member of the Washington Cowlitz Tribe said, “It is inhumane treatment of both the dogs and the wildlife to let dogs run loose where there are real predators that have to eat. No hunter is going to be able to get to any dog fast enough to save that dog from another predator.”
Clifton Aduddel, President of the Native American Church of the Ghost Dancers and a Choctaw located in Southern California said the proposal is a “horrific disrespect of the canines and other animals in general.”
Tony Cerda, Chief of the Coastanoan Rumsen Tribe said he is against turning dogs loose to hunt down prey. “It is our tradition when hunting or even taking plants to offer a prayer to the animal or plant to thank them for feeding my family and to say ‘When I die I’ll feed your family.’ This is the circle of life.”
The commission is meeting Wed–Thur, Oct 11–12 at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott at 900 El Camino Real in Atascadero. The commission’s Tribal Committee also met at 1:30 p.m. Oct 10 at the same location. The commission meeting calendar and agendas can be viewed here.
Massaro said he is encouraging everyone who interested to attend this meeting before the final hearing and vote at the commission’s December meeting in San Diego. Massaro said that he feels both animal rights advocates and tribal speakers at previous meetings about the amendment have not been taken seriously. “It is high time we stop spending our tax dollars to subsidize a cruel sport and form of hunting such as this, not to mention the innocent animals like fawns or other animals that aren’t on the hunting list, maybe even hikers or campers. Getting bit by one dog is bad enough, but getting bit and attacked by six, eight or 12 dogs is even worse,” said Massaro.